That was… fast

Until today I had thought that the +100% XP buff in WoW Retail would last until Sunday/Monday, but this morning I read it will stay until Shadowlands launches. Interesting development.

I tried to speedrun a bit today and I’m really amazed. 3h for 80-90 in Pandaria and then a little over 3h for 90-100 in Draenor.

Also I dinged 120 on the Kul Tiran Mage on Friday or Thursday. And I got Stormsong Valley done on the DK, making her 113. The goal is coming closer, but this buff is a little too much. Yes, I wanted to get some toons to max level before the next expansion comes out, but this is a bit of a joke now. Apparently I had gimped myself by running mostly dungeons and not doing quests, this is *so* fast with War Mode on.

  • Draenei Death Knight – 113
  • Dark Iron Dwarf Monk – 100
  • Void Elf Rogue – 49
  • Worgen Priest – still 73

Didn’t touch the 3 Horde this time.

On Monday we’re supposed to be getting a huge buff to reputation gains, maybe that will motivate me to finish the Mechagon grind and unlock the Mechagnomes so I can finally start an Alliance Warlock. 5 toons left, 119 + 7 + 10 + 47 levels. And when I get bored I have the Rogue and the 3 Horde chars.

It’s Blapril and this is post number 13.

Noblegarden, 2020 Edition

One of the WoW achievements I’d been proudest of was the completion of all the World Events, “What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been”. Yeah, that’s an old one, here’s a screenshot

Protodrake!

It’s been nearly 11 years since I finished this, with the Noblegarden event, and since then I mostly ignored the world events, sometimes adding achievements I’d missed or which were added later. Also Halloween for the Horseman drops, of course (I have the mount, got it in 2010). I’m not completely sure when they put it in but I guess it I got it “relatively” soon after the achievements came, but not sure if it was in the first rotation it was possible to be done.

This year I noticed there were indeed a few things missing, 2 pets and 1 toy. So I went to Razor Hill and got on the egg hunt, one round after the other, until I had my 550 eggs and now this is done. Quite a throwback to more than 10 years ago.

The fancy pants animation of this is not suitable for my Rogue.

Also I’m missing a few achievement in the “World events” category, but if I leave out Brawler’s Guild and the “new” Darkmoon Faire ones, there’s only like 3 of them.

It’s Blapril and this is post number 12.

The Battle at I6-SYN

Yesterday I finally managed to have a stratop fleet available in my timezone, while not at work, and with a doctrine where I could join!

Slowboating

Of course I had no idea what was going on, but we jumped through a lot of gates and ansiblexes, finally arriving where a handful of Titans were waiting for jump bridges. One purple and 2 blue ones, plus a few extras.

That’s a lot of drones…

The battle lasted quite a while and apart from the massive TiDi (yay 1600 people on grid) it was actually fun to logi in an Osprey. I somehow managed to be the last man standing (from the 2 cap chains) after we lost all Basilisks and then all other Ospreys, not sure if we had Scythes and/or Scimitars left.

And I nearly made it out alive!

As I heard later it was about a TEST Astrahus. We didn’t manage to defend it but I was told we won the ISK war. Even got a battle report this time. 12ob is quite number. Also I managed to take some screenshots this time, I’m absolutely happy with this day.

It’s Blapril and this is post number 11.

Leveling spree

The long Easter Weekend (Fri-Mon) here gave me the first break longer than a weekend since… not sure, New Year’s week I guess? and some well-needed rest.

The +100% XP buff in WoW retail is still rolling (until the 20th or so I heard) and on the one hand I feel a little pressured to make the most of it while it’s running, but on the other hand I actually have a goal and want to achieve it. So I did make some good progress. And had some fun on the way.

  • Kul Tiran Human Mage – 115
  • Draenei Death Knight – 110
  • Dark Iron Dwarf Monk – 75
  • Nightborne Priest – 70
  • Zandalari Troll Paladin – 60
  • Highmountain Tauren Warrior – 61
  • Void Elf Rogue – 46 (yes, it’s the fifth Rogue, don’t judge me)

So back to my goal, one of each class and faction at 120, that means these are missing:

  • Alliance Mage – nearly there
  • Alliance Death Knight – just BfA left
  • Alliance Monk – 45 levels
  • Alliance Priest – stuck at 73
  • Alliance Warlock – completely missing, stalled until Mechagnomes unlocked

Shadowlands is in the Alpha, so maybe I should focus on that Monk while the XP buff lasts, then when it ends try to unlock Mechagnomes and get that started. Not sure about the Priest, as I’m leveling one on Horde side right now… And I still didn’t start a Lightforged Draenei and Vulpera… Also for this goal, the “useless 120s” category meanwhile consists of a Gnome Rogue, a Mag’har Rogue, and a Goblin Warrior. Precious time that could have been spent on leveling the aforementioned toons, but there were Heritage armor sets to be unlocked…

Celebrating some milestones made me reevaluate some transmogs I had, and while I didn’t hate them, I thought after 40 levels it was time for something new:

I love the Priest transmog on my Nightborne, so I’m keeping that. Also the Monk one is still fun to look at and the only problem with the Rogue’s is that I keep replacing the boots I want because they’re not Heirlooms.

It’s Blapril and this is post number 10.

My Raiding History, Part 2: The Burning Crusade

The last post ended with our first full clear and the tail end of Vanilla WoW. The Burning Crusade, WoW’s first expansion launched on January 9th 2007, if Wowpedia is to be trusted. We had our guild, the band of ex-battleground players and the raiding game was to be changed in a major way. Before it was 40mans (that we didn’t do) and 20mans (that we did), and now suddenly there should be 10 man Karazhan and then 25 man mini raid instances, Gruul’s Lair and Magtheridon’s Lair. As we had raided together with another guild the logistics of 10 man dungeons shouldn’t be as much of a problem as it would be for larger guilds, who suddenly needed like 8 good tanks and 8-10 good healers out of 40.

But first things first. The attunement quests in Vanilla were mostly tedious, but even with bad players(us) the MC attunement could be done easily if you coordinated a group. In TBC, getting the key to Karazhan was quite a bit more challenging, as the Heroic versions of the dungeons proved to be a lot harder than all the Vanilla 60 dungeons. We didn’t have major problems, but there were some occasions (Heroic Black Morass for example) where we simply had to retry a run after getting a few pieces of gear more or switch the composition of the group. Nothing drastic, but it still took a while to get 15 or so people the key to Karazhan. Then we started raiding and for some reason everything went horrible. We killed Hakkar, we still had all the same people, and while we hadn’t carried them, the people from the other guilds weren’t our star players, they were average, so it’s not like we had lost our best players. Still, progress was damn slow, people were fed up that we had 15 for a 10 man dungeon, and so on.

Now the details get a bit murky in my head, so I don’t know if we ever managed to kill Gruul and Magtheridon in this group, but I’m reasonably sure we killed Karazhan’s last boss, Prince Malchezaar, after too many wipes and too much time. Along the way we had already lost a few people who were fed up with the group, which was a shame after over a year. At some point we got an influx of 2-3 players that came together, this had improved our raiding a little but the tone and morale was at an all time low and that’s when we had guild drama for the very first time. It ended with our guild leader and the new people and 3-4 others (so 7-8, half of the active raiders) simply leaving, that must have been in the summer/autumn of 2007. With the exception of one of the latter ones I haven’t spoken to any of them since because most of them publicly laid blame on about half of the rest of us who remained, mostly on raid performance. I still don’t know what I have to think about this, because they also took two of our worst players with them (which we sometimes asked to be benched for a particularly hard fight, instead of just telling them they can’t raid at all or kick them – I know this is also not very nice, but we wanted to progress AND let them be part of raiding, especially some of the leavers had in the past argued for demoting them to purely social…) – anyway, with just a few of us left at some point I disbanded the guild as I, as one of the remaining 2-3 officers had taken over guild leadership for this sorry pile of rubble. That kinda sucked.

Most of us took a break from the game over the summer (at least a few weeks) and in autumn I applied to one of the non-hardcore guilds on my server and even raided with them twice before there also was some internal conflict, but they solved it like adults. The current guild was a very old one and the guild leader didn’t want things to change or give up leadership, but also didn’t want to raid, not even casually – so most of the raiders left (on friendly terms), to form a raid guild with a defined purpose (but put most of the active remaining players on their friends list).

Of course I joined them because I was here to raid, after all. Everything worked out nicely, and after a while I brought most of the remaining people from my old guild (that had failed in Karazhan) on board and unsurprisingly it worked out just fine with them raiding and they weren’t bad at all. We still weren’t hardcore, we still weren’t fast – but with the slowly improving gear we actually managed to clear Tempest Keep, Serpentshrine Cavern, The Battle for Mount Hyjal, and even The Black Temple (just not Sunwell Plateau, but that’s ok).

The Burning Crusade is also the expansion where I stocked up on alts, even up to leading alt raids to Gruul and Magtheridon on my Prot Warrior, and clearing Karazhan in alt groups also didn’t seem to be a challenge anymore – I think I even healed on my Druid on our first kill (or just while learning) of Archimonde. Nerf HoTs.

And while raiding in Vanilla was fun, Hakkar was the only memory I actively still hold, whereas for TBC there are a lot of memories. The moment Malchezaar still went down, when we cleared SSC, when we cleared TK, the Archimonde fight, and most of Black Temple (which was my favorite instance in that expansion), being on main interrupt duty on Reliquary of Souls, and when our raid leader called the Illidary Council “the superbowl of not standing in things”. And being a main tank in alt raids, of course. Also I don’t remember if I was an officer in this guild. Certainly not at the start, maybe in the end. Not that it matters a lot.

To this day I am confused how Karazhan could go so badly for this original group where 20 man had been fine and the others raided successfully without us, and we did without them…

It’s Blapril and this is post number 9.

Blapril Topic Brainstorming Week

I’m not exactly active in taking part in the theme weeks of Blaugust/Blapril, but for this week I actually have an opinion. You could call it an advice, if you like.

Not everyone writes a blog for the same reason. Sure, you seem to be keen on publishing something, otherwise you wouldn’t have started one or thought about starting one. Naturally if you did, you want to put something there, that’s the whole point, right? I’m not sure. In the early days blogs were ridiculed a bit for being “just a diary, but online”. I’ve never written a diary in the classical text form, and still most of my blog posts are just diary entries of what happened. Sorry, dear reader, I’m not actually writing this for you. I’m mostly writing this down because I have a bad memory when it comes to remembering specifics, but I’ve had enough positive comments to encourage me to make it available publicly. The upside of this is that I don’t have to post with a certain frequency, I post when I want something written down or when a milestone is reached, or sometimes just to let off steam because something didn’t work out.

You don’t need to brainstorm topics if you don’t feel the need to publish regularly, or often. Just write what you want to write, whenever you want to write. It’s your blog.

Obviously this doesn’t help you if you do want to publish regularly and attract a big readership, but then you shouldn’t be taking advice from me anyway 🙂

It’s Blapril and this is post number 8. And of course Blapril is motivating me to post more, but I’m not actively brainstorming, just reading other blogs and sometimes it’s better to create a blog post than a very long comment.

Fifty million

No new posts for 3 days? Something must have happened. Yeah, something happened.

As I had written I originally went to NullSec in a new char because I was still occupied with Mining and playing with friends in HighSec at the time, and I had a few bigger ships and didn’t really want to move away or sell my stuff. So I made a new char and tried to avoid some of my beginner mistakes of speccing all over, but just focus on combat. So a few days ago I actually sat down and compared the skills I had acquired on these 2 characters and how different they were. And apparently they weren’t very different at all. The ~15m SP char had only like 2m of skills that the 47m SP char didn’t have, basically 2x Racial Frigate 5 instead of 4 and like 3 other skills with 1 level more – for the rest the other char had a complete superset and could do the same things, just better in most ways. So maybe I should actually move him to NullSec and change mains? But wouldn’t my remaining 2.5 months of dual training be wasted then? Well first of all I kinda got them for free by subscribing for 3 months at the correct time and second, I remembered that Skill Extractors existed.

The game can be pretty if there aren’t any spreadsheets visible

Maybe it’s clear now where this is going. Skill Injectors have diminishing returns, you always extract 500k SP from one char, but you only get 500k if you inject below 5m SP, or 400k below 50m SP – and as I wrote, I was sitting at 47.5m SP, basically the last chance to use them with a non-newbie character without wasting too much money (you only get 300k below 80m and after that only 150k). So I hatched a plan to actually spend those 45 EUR to buy 10 skill injectors and boost my main. I could reasonably justify that to myself by having saved up a full month of restaurant/takeaway lunch money by working from home. Gladly I asked around and got told that a key point is that while you can extract SP from an Alpha char (if it has more then 5.5m SP), it only works if you spent those SP in Omega-only skills. For some reason the Alpha chars on my second account have over 6m SP (I guess mostly from shooting rats in events) but it had never been paid to be Omega, so those were out. Fortunately my hauler alt also had more than 6m and actually had a few useless SP. So in the end I bought 7 skill injectors for 36 EUR combined, used 2 on my Hauler alt und 5 on my original NullSec char. This got me 2.8m SP for my main and he’s now at 50.2m and I got him into the Alliance today and managed to fly safely to our staging system, with all expensive training implants intact. And I have a taxi Interceptor now, which wasn’t needed because I didn’t see a single non-blue on the way.

Now I just to get everything I didn’t contract to my Hauler for storage/selling shipped to our station, which will probably take a few days and cost me ~20m, but I think it’s worth it. But I guess I’m now fully a NullSec dweller in a fighting Alliance. And I can fly stuff bigger than a Destroyer. Fitting them is still kinda costly for my wallet, so I guess I’ll stick to Cruisers for now, but the official doctrine ships I can fly has now doubled I guess, just not sure yet how many I want to lose.

Wilhelm has often posted milestones and now from 50 on I’ll try to do that as well, because I find these kind of lists really interesting, and I would’ve reached this milestone in roughly a month or two anyway.

Skill category             Points     No. of skills
===================================================
Drones                     7,482,040  18
Spaceship Command          7,358,478  43
Gunnery                    6,433,121  25
Engineering                5,708,315  14
Navigation                 4,129,060  10
Armor                      2,545,805  10
Shields                    2,260,080  10
Missiles                   2,232,395  19
Targeting                  2,154,040   8
Electronic Systems         1,977,794  11
Resource Processing        1,015,545  15
Science                      491,025   4
Rigging                      455,530  10
Social                       434,510   6
Scanning                     335,765   7
Trade                        285,020   8
Production                   276,743   4
Neural Enhancement           167,765   4
Planet Management             96,000   4
Fleet Support                 10,500   6
Subsystems                     1,000   4
Structure Management             750   1
Corporation Management           250   1

Skills at Level 5: 59
Skills at Level 4: 82
Skills at Level 3: 66
Skills at Level 2: 9
Skills at Level 1: 22
Skills at Level 0: 4

It’s Blapril and this is post number 7.

WoW Classic dungeon group is alive

I didn’t have anything to say about WoW Classic since late October last year (wow, 5 and a half months have passed) because I didn’t play but recently the group wanted to continue (for the most part) and so we scheduled not one, but two runs. And we actually started and finished them, amazing!

First, on Saturday I think, we set out to go to Uldaman with our original group, yours truly as a Warrior tank, then a Resto Shaman, Frost Mage, and a Hunter. We grabbed a pickup Shadow Priest and went to the Badlands. Of course nobody had really looked up how the quests work or set foot into this instance in its Vanilla WoW form for 8-10 years, but at least I remembered the bosses from my alt leveling in retail.

So of course we promptly forgot to go to the Dwarves, but noticed at Ironaya, so we went back. Then we didn’t notice we already had the shaft and just skipped Ironaya. Then we went to the Ancient Stone Keeper as planned, then to Grimlok by accident, mistook it for the way to Archaedes. Then we wiped, ran back in, didn’t do Ironaya again because the Hunter had feigned near Grimlok. Then we did Stalgann, then we tried Archaedes and wiped. Then we ran in again, actually did Ironaya, and killed Archaedes on the second try. Not sure if I forgot a boss now, Revelosh doesn’t really count anyway. And then we noticed that we had hardly finished any quests because they’re nearly all outside. So we ran out and did the quests, here and there, left and right. Until we had the mushrooms for most people at least half an hour was gone and we called it a day. I don’t think we’ll be back for Necklace Recovery part 2. We haven’t decided yet how and when to continue, probably Zul’Farrak at 47-48.

On Sunday we grabbed the second group (Warrior Tank, Resto Druid, Affliction Warlock and another Warlock), needed quite a while to get a pickup (Hunter) and did Wailing Caverns. Everything went kind of fine, but it is one of the starter instances and in about an hour we had cleared it without any wipes or deaths. Just those quests again… We ran out of the instance because several people still needed Serpentbloom and a lot of Deviate Hides, and the grog. So we needed another hour until we had all the quests done, killing everything outside of the instance, going in circles. Most of us reached Level 22 and we’d be meeting again at Level 24+ for Shadowfang Keep, probably on Friday or on the weekend.

I had a lot of fun, but I kinda hate leveling in classic. It’s just SO slow and inconvenient compared to retail. Bags are too small, you have to run so far and it’s just not enjoyable. So in this group like in the other it will probably be more of “enjoy an instance or two and then slog through 2-3 levels as a duo until the fun starts again”.

Once again I suck at screenshots, I thought I had made some, but apparently I didn’t.

It’s Blapril and this is post number 6.

An exciting evening in New Eden

Today I saw a pre-ping for 19:00 EVE time that sounded interesting. A FUN fleet (which means nothing else than “not for complete beginners” and not “totally important strategical op”, so the majority of fleets. So I came on and was pleasantly surprised they were handing out ships (I got a Dragoon for ~8m ISK, I guess the Talwars were a little more each) and we were already around 50 people and were about to undock when shit got real really quick and everyone was told to get to the Coalition comms and in an important fleet. We all? kinda did and then some other newbros and I noticed we had no idea what to *exactly* do. And of course the other Mumble server hadn’t remembered my password, so I had to fiddle with the Password manager on one screen, with the route planner tool on the other and I’m kinda surprised I arrived in time…

At least I wasn’t the one being told to shut up in comms, but as I sat there at the staging undock, probably in a wrong ship (it’s cool that they announce “X fleet” but if you’ve never been on one of those because you can’t fly it you probably don’t know which Logi and Tackle are ok to bring) I missed the Titan jump bridge (actually no idea how you’d activate it, or if you need to be near the Titan and I didn’t even see the any Titan in the overview… as I said it was very hectic). So I just stayed on comms and listened and flew back to our staging in hopes that our original fleet would be reformed.

It seemed I was lucky because just 30mins later it indeed reformed and we undocked and went hunting for… something. Oh, of course I got lost before something big happened (I blame some people talking over the FC and I jumped a gate I shouldn’t have) and was killed, so I bought a second Dragoon, minus 2-3 fits that weren’t available and try to catch up to the fleet. That took a while, I avoided a few neutrals and actually managed to find them again. Not sure if there was a real plan but after a lot of jumping (definitely more than usual) we actually got into a fight and maybe we even won the ISK battle. I got on 5 kill mails as a Neut, and only spent like 7m of my own money, yay.

But there’s definitely some things I need to relearn:

  • Listen closely and get to know the damn NullSec system names in Catch
  • Not overlook broadcast for reps, and actually get into Logi again
  • Sort overview “better” so I can lock/align/jump quicker

Anyway, it’s 1 am and I was busy for roundabout 3h and had a lot of fun. As I write this some stratop ping goes out, I think I’d be kept more busy in USTZ or AUTZ, but such is life.

It’s Blapril and this is post number 5.

My Raiding History, Part 1: Vanilla WoW

Shintar wrote a really cool blog post about her raiding history and I thought that would be a good topic, so here it goes.

When I started playing WoW (which is a story for another day) I had only played Ragnarok Online, an MMORPG that doesn’t have the concept of Raids. So anyway, I leveled along with my girlfriend, starting in summer 2005 and finally reaching level 60 in late spring 2006. We didn’t know a lot of people on the server, basically just one friend from university, and he had stopped playing already by then, because he had already been 60 when we started and got bored. So we leveled as a duo (Rogue + Prot Warrior) and also did some PvP. On a PvE server that meant battlegrounds. So we played, and because we did that a lot in the 50-59 bracket at some point she was approached by a guild if she wanted to join. Apparently Prot Warriors made decent flag carriers in Warsong Gulch and were also kinda hard to take down when guarding a flag in Arathi Basin. So she joined and after a bit I joined as well. We got to 60 and did mostly battlegrounds, every day. At some point we got to rank 11, got our mounts… and then a few things happened. We’d been playing from my room and I moved out, and because of the horrible honor system in vanilla and this one week offline we stopped progressing and also didn’t want to continue to fight our way back up, so rank 12 was kinda not a goal anymore.

At the same time some people in the guild who had only ever done PvP, just like we did, wanted to have a look at the 20 man raids, and so our guild leader (who had raided before, either on another character or maybe even on Alliance) took us to Lower Blackrock Spire for “training”. Yes, some of us hadn’t even done all the 60s 5 man dungeons like Stratholme, Dire Maul, Scholomance. The result was kind of hilarious. I don’t remember everything, but I’m pretty sure you could still enter LBRS with 10 people, so were probably 8-10 and I think we made it through, but it wasn’t pretty. And yes, some of us probably hadn’t run a 5man in a while (I remember doing a few UBRS runs for the dagger that never dropped and one other Rogue in our guild had 2 of them…)

So because not everything was hopeless we started to do Zul’Gurub and AQ20. I don’t remember the specifics, but for some reason there was a falling out between the guild leader and nearly everyone else and because he didn’t step down, 90% of the people left and reformed the guild under another name, with the same officers, and a few more, including us two. We continued to raid weekly now together with another small guild whenever we got the numbers, but it wasn’t easy. At some point we had the luck (still feels a bit like cheating) that our (new) guild leader somehow got hold of a friend’s fully Tier 2 equipped Protection Warrior, and suddenly we had a really well-geared Main Tank and I’m pretty sure that helped us a lot. Although in the end, ZG gear wasn’t so much worse than Tier 1, so we had 1 person out of 20 who was a full gear tier ahead…

First kill of Hakkar in Zul’Gurub

We downed Hakkar after a while and that was the first of those moments where everyone’s just screaming on voice comms because you finally managed to clear the instance after working hard on the last boss. I don’t even remember if we cleared AQ20. We did 1 or 2 nights in MC, but as we were only 20 we needed some other folks and the overhead of keeping DKP for this made us stop very soon, also The Burning Crusade was drawing near… But we still clearly felt like the underdogs – we were late to the party, but it was basically still the same PvP guild that had decided to try PvE and it had worked out. I don’t care if Blackwing Lair was a lot harder (I really have no clue, I can only assume it was), but we were kinda happy the way it went.

It’s Blapril and this is post number 4.